This Tuesday marked my 29th year around the sun.
I could go on and on about how I'm really feeling the pressure of getting older...about how I feel absolutely fucking panicked about where I am in my life vs. where I thought I'd be etc etc etc but I thought I'd share some of my old-lady wisdom instead!
Here are 10 things I have learnt to appreciate in my old age...
1. Fresh air. Fresh Food. Fresh Flowers. Gone are the days where I would crank the air-con in my car up to Arctic temperatures. These days, I relish in the fact that it's a nice day out. I crack the window open and feel the cool breeze on my face and for a split second remember how lucky I am to be happy and healthy. My dining table is rarely spotted without a posey of pretty flowers on it and the importance of fresh, healthy food has also suddenly become apparent to me. (Probably a few years late on that one. Who knew microwaveable cheeseburgers weren't great for you?)
2. Random acts of kindness. It's crazy how easily impressed I am these days. All it takes is a quick smile and a wave when I'm trying to merge lanes and I almost tear up at the kindness of human beings. Recently I had a waitress tell me how much she liked my dress... my night was made. It doesn't take much to make someone else's day and I'm going to endeavour to keep an eye out for more of those golden little opportunities and you should too!
3. Skin care. This one is kind of a no brainer but the older I get, the more I realise the importance of taking care of your skin. I'm very lucky that mine tends to be clear of spots but pretty soon it's going to start heading south so I've definitely upped my skin care routine. For the first time in my life I'm seeing a dermatologist more regularly than I'm seeing my GP and she's working wonders. Chemical peels, laser treatments, night cream....hell, I'm even using cleanser semi-regularly. I'm a new woman.
4. Exercise. If you follow me on social media you're probably sick of hearing me talk about F45 but hand-on-my-heart it has changed my life. Coupled with pilates, exercise has given me a new lease on life. I'm fitter, my body is more toned, I'm waking up earlier and making the most of the day, my skin is clearer and I've gone from being somebody who was always sick to someone who can't remember the last time I was snotty! I have most definitely drunk the F45 Kool Aid.
5. Early nights. This time last year I was still going out and getting white-girl wasted 4-5 nights a week. I wouldn't go home until at LEAST 3 am because otherwise "It was a waste of a night!" I spent my Sundays hungover, eating pizza in bed. These days, I aim to be in bed by 11pm most nights, asleep by 11.15am. In fact, my love affair with sleep is getting pretty serious.
6. No-bullshit dating. Alright so, yes, I'm still single. But I'm also totally comfortable with the fact. After dating half of Melbourne over the last 2 years, I've had enough. I know what I want from a partner, I know exactly what I'm looking for (and what I'm not looking for) and I'm not about to make some poor bastard buy me dinner 2 or 3 times "just because" I'm single and that's what we're supposed to do. "Get out there, have fun", "Why the hell not?" NO dammit! What's the point? I'm not only wasting my time but their time as well. Also, it's exhausting.
7. Family. Growing up, family are kind of a given. Mum and Dad are always around, annoying but they mean well. Your siblings are the bane of your existence but also kind of fun sometimes. As you get older you start to realise that actually, Mum and Dad won't always be around. Watching your parents get older and sometimes, sick, is absolutely terrifying. My dad had a quadruple bypass just over a year ago and it wasn't until I saw him, hooked up to a million machines, frail and helpless did it sink in just how precious they are. Living away from home, quality time with my siblings is also something I've learnt to appreciate more. These two boys, once smaller than me are now grown men, both with their own lives. I want to make more of an effort for them to be in mine this year.
8. Fine wine. Once upon a time, there was a girl named Tully who loved collecting her pennies on a Friday night and splurging on a $5 bottle of Passion Pop. (Original flavour only.) She was also known to go halves in a goon bag of Fruity Lexia with a girlfriend on a Saturday night and not even wince when she took a sip. Fast forward a few years and I'm noticing myself venturing further and further down the wine list. My palette has evolved and matured and I no longer bat an eyelid at the thought of spending-up big on a nice bottle of wine. In fact, it's maybe my favourite pastime.
9. Old friends. There is nothing like a birthday to make you miss the people you might not speak to every day. I was blown away by the amount of love I received on my birthday, from people I haven't seen or even spoken to in months... even years! Friends from my primary school, old dorm mates from uni- it really makes you reflect on the people you've met along the way and how lucky you are to still have them in your life.
10. Self-love. It's been a weird little year when it comes to my self-confidence. For the first time in my life I was starting to doubt myself. I found myself standing in the mirror, staring at my body and finding flaws. It suddenly dawned on me that I wasn't this naturally lanky 16 year old anymore. There were lumps and bumps. My abs were missing. My skin wasn't as clear or firm as it used to be. It sucked and it started to be a constant train of thought in the back of my mind. It made me self-conscious when I went out. I started wearing different clothes, comparing myself to my friends and other girls I saw out and about. I stopped ordering what I loved, what I felt like and started to order what I thought I should be eating. I had my first little breakthrough when I was in LA in June this year.
One day, before going out for a day of exploring it dawned on me that I actually didn't need to put on makeup that day. Believe it or not, ever since my days on Big Brother, it's almost near impossible to go anywhere without at least one person recognising me. Food courts, airports and shopping centres are the worst. It's not always a big "Oh my god can I get a selfie with you?", most of the time it's whispers as they pass me "Is that Tully from Big Brother?" but nonetheless, people of Australia seem to remember who I am.
In LA however, nobody knew, or cared who I was. I didn't need to prepare myself for a random selfie. I wasn't worried people were going to be judging me, or comparing me to my Instagram photos. So I went for a wander without an ounce of make up on. And it boy, it felt good! It felt liberating.
When I got back home (a few kgs heavier thanks to all the delicious burgers I demolished in the states) I decided to up the ante with my exercise (see above) and today I'm feeling healthier but more importantly, stronger.
At 29 I've finally started to understand that strong is the new skinny. Being strong is sexy. And I feel most sexy when I'm sweaty and puffed, after a big work out- lumps and bumps and all.
So there you have it. A few little pearls of wisdom from your old Aunt Tully. Who know's what other enlightening life lessons I'll learn this year? Something I do know however is that I plan to make the last year of my 20's count.
This past Tuesday, when one of my friends wished me a Happy Birthday she also said that she believes the "best is yet to come" for me. And you know what? I think she might be right.